Red Sox

MLB Notebook: Sox wrestle with how to preserve Sale in ’18; big-name starters flop in playoffs & more

(Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

It’s too late to change anything for this October, and for that matter,  likely too late to do anything to help the Red Sox advance deeper into this post-season.

But already, the Red Sox have begun discussing what they can do next season to make Chris Sale more prepared for the most important time of year: the playoffs.

Sale’s career-long habit of experiencing a drop-off in performance in the second half of seasons continued in this, his first year in Boston.

In the first half of this season, Sale posted a 2.75 ERA; in the second half, it was 3.12. After limiting hitters to a .562 OPS in the first half, that number shot up to .661 in the second half. Similarly, his .901 WHIP in the first half increased to 1.073.

It’s also been well-documented that, statistically speaking, September is the roughest month of Sale’s career, with a 3.78 ERA. August is 3.22. The other four months, by contrast, are all under 3.00.

Sale’s post-season debut was a disaster Thursday, as his struggles continued. He allowed two homers in the first and seven runs in five innings.

What can the Sox do to alter that pattern in 2018 and beyond?